Eswatini Suspended Footbridge Design; Urban Revitalization: Historic Gentrification’s Impact on Current Plans

Dues, Haley, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Gentrification is a process of changing a neighborhood. Different economic productivity, changing education levels, and other demographic changes as a result of gentrification has the potential to greatly impact an area in multiple ways. In this paper, I examine how past and current plans for urban renewal balance utilitarian and rights-based ethics in a socially and racially just manner. Two cities, Cincinnati and New Orleans, were explored. Past redevelopment projects in each city, the West Side and the French Quarters respectively, were analyzed to determine how the area was impacted, former residents were displaced, and the overall community of the area was transformed. Next, urban redevelopment plans current in use in each city were examined for mentions of rights-based concepts and economy-based concepts. This along with current projects illustrates how cities currently prioritize different goals during redevelopment.
The West Side renewal and highway construction and the French Quarters redevelopment both resulted in prior residents being displaced. Both communities were majority black prior to being gentrified, illustrating that past urban development projects tended to target minority and low-income areas and gentrification historically led to large increases in the cost of living (Hurley, 2006). In Cincinnati, a different neighborhood could have been the site of the construction in order to impact less individuals and achieve a more just outcome. Plan Cincinnati, the current urban development plan, does not directly address low-income or minority neighborhoods. Plan for the 21st Century in New Orleans does discuss demographic differences and past ethical shortcomings, but the primary emphasis is on economic growth. The primary motive for current redevelopment projects is to make the area more attractive for the greatest number of people and increase economic productivity. Although a large portion of the city is benefitting, by not taking into consideration minorities and low-income residents it is difficult to see these developments as entirely ethical.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
footbridge, urban revitalization
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